Where Did November Go Already? Gone!

keyboardDecember 1 how did you get here so fast? Wasn’t it just yesterday the calendar read November 1?  Last year at this time a smile crept across my lips as I’d finished the first draft of my second novel the evening before with the help of the folks at the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) website. Every November thousands of writers take up the “50,000 words in 30 days” challenge — daunting, but totally doable.

After meeting that challenge last November, I signed up for CampNaNoWriMo in July to knock out my third novel. The ideas and characters were in my mind waiting to make their way to be words and sentences on my netbook screen. Life happened and I didn’t even make it to the cabin check in. With the sun on my back and the wind in my face I focused on running and spending those summer days with my girls. I told myself I’d push my next novel to the spring instead of the fall and get that allusive draft done in November as I’d done the previous year.

November arrived and I started strong. The words flowed and the storyline progressed. Unfortunately for my characters (and the three or four readers awaiting my next book) life happened – mine that is. Interruptions (from children who should be sleeping) and distractions (like the new Nora Roberts and Barbara Freethy novels and a new season of Once Upon a Time) beckoned to me.

I tried to get back on track and then, as I often do when I know I should not, I checked the reviews of my books on Amazon. Every five-star and kind review makes me smile and feel good about my writing. I know logically, I can’t please every reader, however, those one-star reviews, have just as big of an effect on me as a writer as the five-star ones. I have a hard time blowing them off and tend to dwell on them and doubt my writing abilities. So, reading the review below in the beginning of my second week of writing, my motivation flagged and I just never got back to it… Here it is in its entirety…

If I could give it a -5 I would have.
I could not read the entire book. I’m sorry, I try to be fair but I cannot see how ANYONE in their right mind could give this book a 5, 4 or even a 3. I paid for the darn book based on reviews. These reviews have to be from family and friends of the author. I really wish I could get my money back. It was as if I were reading some teenager’s diary. Not sure how to describe the immature writing skills. The story might (big questionable might) have had a good storyline if it wasn’t for how this writer just dragged on and on on every single detail. For example, Mason taking a shower and every single detail about the towel and such…. really? It was a detailed description of EVERY SINGLE thought. I wanted to pull my hair out! The entire story was lame. This author needs a better editor if she has one at all. I’m sorry to say but don’t spend the money. I could not even finish the story.”

Sigh. Double-Sigh. I resisted responding and defending my position. The majority of the other reviews were not from my family members and personal friends. It should be enough that I know that, but it still doesn’t take the sting away from a bad review! After stewing on it and re-reading the positive reviews I’ve gotten on my first book and on this one as well, I realized that even though I failed to get that draft done in November, I shouldn’t give up. Writing is something I love and I shouldn’t let one hater take that away from me. Now, I just need to find that uninterrupted time away from distractions.  Early mornings? Late nights? I don’t know. I need to make it happen though!

Any ideas on finding the time to pursue your passions?

Huge Sale: Book Lovers Buffet May 1-3

bouquet-sale-header[4]

The Buffet’s “Bouquet of Books” sale will be open May 1-3. More than 175 ebooks, all reduced in price to just 99 cents. Save in categories such as Young Adult, Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense, Erotic Romance, and more! PLUS, visit the website to win gift cards to your choice of online retailers. $400 in gift cards up for grabs!

Both of my contemporary romance novels are in the sale!

Take a Deep Breath - Shar DimickABNA Quarter-Finalist, Second Chance at Love: TAKE A DEEP BREATH
Liv Reynolds can’t remember when anxiety and panic didn’t play havoc on her life. Recently divorced from a man who wouldn’t or couldn’t understand her, she retreats with her daughter to her grandmother’s summer cottage on Lake of the Pines. Liv has fond memories of the summers she spent there with her grandparents. Always a safe haven, she hopes to spend the summer relaxing, healing and finding herself again. In the midst of a panic attack, she finds herself face-to-face with Cameron Preston, the boy with whom she’d spent her childhood summers. In love with him back then, she never found the courage to tell him and they drifted apart…Her heart leaps at the second chance for love. Confusion swamps her as she tries to figure out why Cam keeps pulling away… Can Liv rekindle their old friendship and to turn it into something more?

Cam quit his busy big-city medical practice exhausted and disillusioned. He returns to his family’s summer home on Lake of the Pines to regroup and determine where and what he wants to do next. When he runs into Liv, the girl he let slip away, he knows where wants to head and with whom. When Cam meets Liv’s eight-year-old daughter, he assumes Liv is married. He struggles to keep his feelings for Liv in check while resuming the friendship he desperately misses. His one regret was not kissing Liv all those years ago when he had the chance… He has never stopped loving Liv. Will he let her slip away again? Not if he has his way.

timecoverart200X300New Release, Blind Date Leads To True Love?: TAKE YOUR TIME
Content to hide behind her camera, Maddy Adams often feels more comfortable observing life rather than actively participating in it. For the past five years she’s focused only on her studies and building her photography career. The summer after her college graduation, Maddy returns to Lake of the Pines for her sister Liv’s wedding. While she’s happy her sister has found love again, Maddy wonders if she’ll ever find love herself. Her college roomie keeps pressuring her to go out with her older brother, who happens to be vacationing at the same lake. Maddy doesn’t want to go on another blind date, but after blowing it with the gorgeous man she met on the beach she doesn’t have anything to lose. Or does she?

Mason Ellis finds himself on a beautiful house boat docked at Lake of the Pines after finally taking his best friend’s long-standing invitation to visit. He has two long weeks away from his fast-paced software development business to relax and unplug if he can. Six months ago the woman he’d lived with for two years left him for someone else. Tired of meaningless hookups, Mason wants more, but is afraid of getting burned again. When he spies a woman on the beach taking his photo, he’s intrigued. However, when he finally meets the mystery photographer, she brushes him off. Meanwhile, his little sister keeps pestering him to go on a blind date with her old college roommate. Maybe a blind date is just what he needs to get back into the dating scene. It’s not like it will lead to anything more. Or will it?
bouquet-sale-button[4]In addition, you’ll find titles from popular authors such as:

·         Gemma Halliday
·         Angie Fox
·         Jenna Bennett
·         Amanda Brice
·         Jennette Marie Powell
·         Clover Autrey
·         Carly Carson
·         E. Ayers
·         Genevieve Jourdin
·         CJ Lyons
·         Renee Pace
·         Sophia Knightley
·         Tori Scott
·         Meredith Bond
·         Emily Ryan-Davis
·         Anthea Lawson
·         Diana Layne
·         Lindsey Brookes
·         Gina Robinson
·         McKenna Chase

And many, many more!

Load up, you won’t gain a pound!

Hosted by Indie Romance Ink.

“Black Bugs, Banana Boxes”

a-to-z-letters-bThe second day of April brings the letter “B” in the Blogging from A to Z  April Challenge. And, who can think of the letter “B” without thinking about the The Berenstains’ B Book by Stan and Jan Berenstain? Certainly not me. This fun book about “beautiful, baboons blowing bubbles, biking backwards and baby bird’s balloon” is one of my all time favorites. In fact whenever my kids go through their books to donate to our county’s Relay for Life used book sale, and I find that book in the give-away pile, I pluck it out and put it back on the shelf where it belongs.

While I don’t intend for my A to Z blogging challenge to be solely about children’s books, when I found out in my Facebook news feed from my local library that today is International Children’s Book Day, I knew my “B” blog had to be about books. When I look around my house, I see books everywhere – paper backs, hard backs, picture books, chapter books, eBooks (not that we are hoarders or anything – they are stacked neatly for the most part).

I love to read books and write books. As I child many evenings were spent in the quiet solitude of a good book. Both my parents, my sister and I were found lost in our books in silent companionship. My love of reading comes directly from my parents. My mom is a retired school librarian. Both she and my dad were always (and still are) reading a good book. Reading before bed was a nightly ritual in our house and continues to be so in my own family. Aside from the books I read to my daughters, I read on average one to two books a week when I’m not on a strict writing schedule.

As kids my sister and I always looked forward to trips to the library and now my daughters look forward to those visits as well. And the day our Scholastic book orders came in at school was “jack pot’ day. I see that same excitement on my girls’ face when they come home with their book order sheets already circled with the books they want. I admit I may indulge them in buying too many books, but I can’t help myself (which probably accounts for our overflowing book shelves). I love books and so do they!

By the way currently I am coincidentally  reading a book that starts with the letter “B” called Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. It is very thought-provoking and is making me really think about my boundaries, but that’s another blog for some other day.

What about you? What books do you like to read? Do you read as a child?